Tag Archives: Papuan people

Extension of Special Autonomy Law Number 21 of 2001 for West Papua by Indonesian Parliament: A One-sided Policy implementation

by Solidarity for Indigenous Papuans

Facts on the Special Autonomy

The much talked about Special Autonomy Law Number 21 of 2001 was officially extended on 15th July 2021 through the Second Amendment Bill to Law Number 21 of 2001 in the Indonesian Parliament. Summary of facts covered as reported by various media outlets are as follows;

  • the extension was finalized and approved for endorsement through the Second Amendment Bill of Law Number 21 of 2001
  • the government focus on amending only three articles; Article 1 on general provisions, Article 34 on Special Autonomy Fund for Papua, and Article 76 on Territorial Expansion
  • the new articles added to the existing law were only 20 articles, which mainly were added or extended in Articles 1, 34 and 76.
  • apart from the three articles reviewed, no other articles from the previous law were removed or adjusted; the Minister for Home Affairs confirmed that “the content of the law has not changed, but funds have to be extended and increased.”
  • The Indonesian Parliament agreed that all Papuans they have consulted approve of the extension of Special Autonomy

The general feeling in Papua has different narratives from that held by Indonesian leaders in Jakarta and their collaborators in Papua. It was fortunate that the government-controlled media smooth over the rough edges of the Autonomy narrative, avoided publicising views from the Papuan public. The fact remains that all indigenous Papuans rejected outright its extension. A total of 105 organisations, including the support organisations from neighbouring countries, formed a resistance group inside West Papua put up consistent protests at meeting venues, only to be met by heavy police and military beatings and hefty jail terms.

Consultation Initiative for the Special Autonomy

Consultation for the extension was organized in ways that only seek approval from the public and avoided criticism, complaints, or adjustments from the Papuans’ side. Three separate factions initiated their schedules for consultations with Papuan people; (1) initiated by Papuan People’s Assembly in Papua (MRP) and Papuan Provincial Parliamentarians (DPRP) under Article 77 of Special Autonomy Law, (2) initiated by Special Committee for the Special Autonomy (DPD PANSUS), and (3) initiated by Indonesian Parliamentarians.

According to Article (77) of Special Autonomy Law Number 21 of 2001, the changes to the law has to be done by Papuans through MRP, DPRP and Governor of Papua province in consultation with the Papuans. Thus, the setup of the Special Team for Special Autonomy and direct involvement by Indonesian Parliamentarians were not in the spirit of the law.

The exclusion in the discussion and contribution to Special Autonomy prompted MRP to appeal to the constitutional court in Jakarta to seek its interpretation of Article (77) on 16th June 2021. The court did not hand the decision to date due to political interference. The MRP was forced to withdraw the case on 21st July 2021. The Parliamentarians passed the Second Amendment Bill on 15th July 2021, extending the Special Autonomy Law Number 21 of 2001.

Groups Consulted in Papua

The three groups set up two separate camps to review the Special Autonomy Law, Jakarta and Jayapura. The Jakarta group set up the Indonesian Research Institute (LIPI) and the University of Gaja Mada (UGM) to research and draft the law. In contrast, the Jayapura group set up the university of Cenderawasih to do the review. The Jakarta group has a separate list of Papuans to consult in Papua, and the Jayapura group has its list with different schedules.

The Jayapura group, led by MRP/MRPB1, conducted consultations throughout Papua and West Papua provinces. The approach appeared fair for the ordinary people and civil society, including the opposition groups who presented petitions against the Special Autonomy in several regencies. In Pegunungan Bintang, Yahukimo, Paniai, Jayapura, Manokwari and Sorong presented petitions against the extension of Special Autonomy. The people at the grassroots level trusted the first group led by the MRP/MRPB.

The Jakarta group led by the Special Team scheduled five days for a visit to Jayapura and Manokwari. They listed the following names for their consultation; (1) Governor, (2) Regional Leaders (FORKOPIMDA), (3) Papuan Provincial Parliamentarians (DPRP/PB), (4) Papuan People’s Assembly Members (MRP/MRPB), (5) Provincial Rep. of National Intelligence Organization (BINDA), (6) Association of Indonesian Lecturers in Jayapura (7) Forum for Regional Leaders, (8) Forum for inter-religious group, (9) Special Autonomy Review Team in Jayapura, and (10) Cenderawasih University. They scheduled for five days from 26th to 30th April 2021.

Another Jakarta group led by Indonesian Parliamentarians (DPR RI) had their separate schedule for consultation with the Papuan side on 1st April 2021. The group met (1) Governor, (2) Indonesian Military Commander in Papua (Pangdam Cenderawasih), (3) Papua Provincial Police Commander, (4) Papua provincial Chief Judge, (5) Chairman of Papuan People’s Assembly, (6) Chairman of Papua Parliamentrians, and (7) Regional leaders and town mayors in Papua province.

Consultation and Review Results

The consultation and review results of the Papuan side led by MRP/MRPB disappeared in thin air between Jakarta and Jayapura. The petition collected from the Papuans, main discussions about human rights and dialogue between Jakarta and Jayapura, including the opposition groups, were vaporised into thin air living the original review and consultations from the Jakarta side to endorsement by the Indonesian Parliament. It was a shadow play that Indonesian intelligence (BIN) designed and played hard from the sidelines, directing the flow towards Jakarta.

Indonesians called “wayang kulit”, an Indonesian shadow play myth often told and played in Indonesian cinemas. The MRP/MRPB group was only a decoy to attract Papuans’ attention to their side, so the actual moves from Jakarta are implemented undisturbed.

During the parliament session, Mr Komarudin Watubun the chairman of the Special Committee for the Autonomy concluded that “discussions about the Special Autonomy was conducted well in the spirit of brother-hood.”2 Mr Yan Mandenas, his deputy added that the process of consultation was done according to “normal policy processes and procedures and satisfied all the existing government’s requirements”3 according to the available laws of the country.

Peoples’ representation

The people consulted in Papua do not represent most Papuans because they were members of the “Barisan Merah Putih” (BMP)(Red and White movement). The BMP group is organized by the Indonesian military and police, forcing people to love Indonesia and hate other people who are against the Indonesian state ideology. These people are descendants of the “1025” selected to participate in the “Act of Free Choice” in 1969. This group of Papuans are well-looked after by the Indonesian government. They continue to receive monthly allowances from the Indonesian government to compensate for their part in the 1969 saga and formed the stronghold for Indonesia in Papua. They have no connection with the West Papua independence struggle either.

It was a pre-planned process with name lists prepared by the Badan Intelijen Negara (BIN) State Intelligence Organization with venues scheduled and dates fixed for the events. They also listed Church leaders, customary leaders, students and intellectuals that were aligned with the views of the Red and White group. People selected to represent Papuan’s view were mainly from West Papua province and coastal regions which traditionally allied with Indonesians most often or do not dare to talk aggressively like the highlanders. Indonesia is indirectly creating ethnic divisions as a method of divide and rule, which appears to be colonial in its approach to Papuan issues.

Excluded Groups

The excluded groups in Papua are led by Petisi Rakyat Papua4 (PRP) (Petition for the People of Papua). The PRP group is a collective group consisted of 105 civil society based organizations, including politically charged organizations such as the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) and others whose leaders are at the forefront. The groups appeared to be formidable and aspire to continue in whatever way possible to halt the implementation of the Special Autonomy.

From experience, the opposition to the Special Autonomy Law at the beginning could be a bad sign for Indonesia as it cannot teach new tricks to the Papuans. Papuans have grown thick skin over the years of the Indonesian’s undignified treatments, and it looks like the opposition would continue to grow in the months and years ahead. The Special Autonomy review and consultation was done in a secret and undemocratic way that violated the rights of the people of Papua. The failure of the first part of Special Autonomy experienced from 2001 to 2020 will be repeated in the second part of the Special Autonomy. Indonesians are ignorant of the reality existing in Papua.

Expected fulfilment of SDG 2030 in Papua under Special Autonomy

The last five (5) years of implementing Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030 (SDG 2030) since 2015 has catapult Indonesia’s economic success. It has enabled Indonesia to invest heavily into education, health, agriculture, commerce and other sectors of the economy boosting living standards and creating millions of jobs for its 273 million people. However, the economic miracle that Indonesia enjoyed over the years occurred at the expense of mounting human rights violations5 and environmental destruction in Papua. The suppression of Indigenous peoples rights, LGBT rights, People With Disability, minority rights, and environmental destruction in Papua and Boneo Islands where vast forests are being destroyed are a few areas that the Indonesian government has been overlooking in the last five years.

West Papua region in Indonesia tells the exact opposite of Indonesia’s success story over the same period that seems to paint a negative image on Indonesia. The much talked about and promoted Special Autonomy for Papua is nothing but a tool for Indonesian diplomatic advancement to cover its human rights violation record in West Papua. Indonesia treats West Papua as its number one priority in international relations, perfecting any defects coming out of the province in every international forum that smells human rights in Indonesia focusing on Papua. It is uncertain that the existing negative record would likely to improve with the extension of the autonomy package. Already, violated SDG principles from the beginning when the Indonesians excluded Papuans from taking part in the review and consultation process.

BY Solidarity for Indigenous Papuans (SIP)

1 Majelist Rakayat Papua/Majelis Rakyat Papua Barat (Papuan Peoples’ Assembly Members/West Papua Peoples’ Assembly Members) the Special Autonomy covers both provinces.

2 DPR and Government Approve Papua Otsus Bill (voaindonesia.com)

3 DPR Affirms the Discussion of The Revision of the Papua Otsus Law Is Final and Constitutional – Tribunnews.com

4 Papuan People’s Petition (petisirakyatpapua.org)

5 Johnny Blades a senior journalist at Radio New Zealand International describes the human rights conditions in West Papua here; West Papua: The Issue That Won’t Go Away for Melanesia (lowyinstitute.org)

Indonesia constantly ignoring West Papuan’s pleas for peace

Opinion

By : Rufinus Madai

May 14, 2014

There is never a day that passes when the people of Papua as individuals, do not express their longing to see peace.  Instead of responding to their cries for peace, their daily lives are continuously spattered with violence and conflict created by Indonesian Armed Forces.

Even at those everyday moments when people eat and drink, in every place and at all times, people of Papua are speaking of their longing for peace.  They dearly hope that the Government of Indonesia will bring an end to the violence being committed in their land. Yet their cries for over 50 years have gone unheard: the Government just ignores their pleas, showing no response whatsoever.  One can’t but question what really is the underlying desire of the Indonesian Government in regards to Papua.

It is little wonder that the people of Papua no longer trust the Government of Indonesia.  They feel so deeply that they are not truly regarded by Indonesia as being a true part of the Republic of Indonesia. As a result they don’t refer to themselves as Indonesians, but rather as Papuans.  For it is the very Forces of the State itself that are carrying out the constant acts of violence. Papuans accordingly speak of the State of Indonesia as being a coloniser, as an oppressor and as a murdering state. What is it going to take for Indonesian to rid itself of such labels and develop a new image in the hearts of the people of Papua?  To date Indonesia has never listened to the voice of the people of Papua.  The people’s constant pleas for peace , which the Government has just ignored, are not just empty words. They are an expression that comes from the bottom of people’s hearts in response to what they are experiencing and facing up to every day of their lives.  Of course Papuans question Indonesia’s true intent in Papua, when for over 50 years now the State has not only allowed the violence against the population to continue, but in fact in every instance, it has been violence and conflict created by the State’s own Forces.  Indeed the Government of Indonesia has failed miserably to date in regards to Papua.  It is this failure of the State to bring an end to the conflict in Papua which has given rise to a lack of confidence towards the Government in the hearts of the people of Papua. Yet despite all this, many people still hang on to a hope that the Indonesian Government will stop the violence and conflict against their people. But when?

The people of Papua have faithfully waited on the Government of Indonesia to act to bring about their hopes for peace in their land. Yet those hopes have fallen on deaf ears. The State needs to start hearing the cries of the people, to open its eyes and ears and act humanely and take responsibility for the continuous violence committed by its Forces. As the root of all problems in Papua lie with the Indonesian Government itself. The Indonesian government is responsible to protect the people of Papua and to take actions  to bring an end to the conflict in the land. It must change its attitude and show an intention to listen to the people and together to search for the solution that will bring about peace.

Do not ignore the cries of our people Indonesia! Bring an end to the violence in our land!

The Writer is a post-graduate level theological student at the Catholic Seminary in Abepura, Papua.

Bobii: Indonesian Armed Forces, the main Anti-Peace Agents in Papua

By Selpius Bobii  writing from Abepura State Prison, Jayapura

 Opinion

December 24, 2013

Every religion teaches values of goodness and kindness and has teachings that are intended to create happiness and peace on this earth and in eternity.  We hear so many people speak of the importance of peace, but the reality is that it’s not that simple to realise peace in our everyday lives. In the Papuan province of Indonesia it feels like peace is so far from becoming a reality for the indigenous people who live there.

Of late the Cenderawasih XVII Military Commander in West Papua has been coining the phrase “Peace is beautiful” and yet at the same time the Indonesian Armed Forces continue to be the number one culprit committing acts of violence and humanitarian atrocities against the indigenous people of Papua.  Behind the mask of these sweet words the Armed Forces are clearly acting very much against the creation of peace in Papua.

 Peace can be realised in a place when every person, every group, every faction, respects the rights of others; and this extends to nations and tribes. Where each is able to exercise their rights and at the same time fulfils their obligations towards others. It seems however in Papua that the realisation of peace is something that’s incredibly difficult to achieve, with the root cause of that being the lack of recognition of the very basic political rights of the people of Papua by all three Indonesia, the USA and the United Nations (UN).

(UN)involved in Papua's desire for Peace; very involved in its atrocities (Photo: Public domain)
(UN)involved in Papua’s desire for Peace; very involved in its atrocities (Photo: Public domain)

With the USA and UN’s active support throughout the entire process of annexation of Papua into Indonesia in the 1960’s, they indeed played a part in the actions of violence and atrocities against the indigenous people of Papua.  They achieved their goal of making Papua into ‘the kitchen of the world’, opening it to the many international companies that have been stripping Papua of its rich natural resources ever since. It was not to end at the annexation of Papua, as they have continued these last more than 50 years to support Indonesia’s hold on Papua which in turn keeps the door open for exploitation of the land.  There have been various forms of aid and in particular joint programs in security and defence, which of course are critical to Indonesia’s continued domination of Papua.

The Indonesian Armed Forces have by intention made Papua into a centre of conflict, but for what end?  In so doing they create a situation where the indigenous people can be paralysed, can be annihilated and the world just keeps quiet, with Indonesia saying they are dealing with the conflict. The result?  Papua remains permanently part of Indonesia and its natural resources can be exploited with ease by international parties.

Let’s not be fooled that the partnerships going on between Indonesia and other nations of the world in the areas of security and defence are aimed at peace building and protecting the people of the region as claimed. Nothing could be further from the truth! The reality is they have quite the opposite goal! The Indonesian Armed Forces are the main agents intentionally creating violence, bondage and theft of natural resources, discrimination, marginalisation, injustice, terror, intimidation and humanitarian atrocities against the indigenous peoples of the land of Papua. Their military and civilian operations both overt and covert are intended to slowly but surely annihilate ethnic Papuans.

The many forms of both visible and hidden violence and humanitarian atrocities undertaken by the state of Indonesia against indigenous Papuans are intended to stifle the political aspirations of Papuans for independence and at the same time annihilate the people. In the face of this continued violence against their people the indigenous peoples of Papua continue to express their opposition to the many human rights violations by peaceful and dignified means, primarily by means of peaceful demonstration. Yet even the narrowest space for a voice calling for democracy has been blocked by the Armed Forces in recent times, especially by the Provincial level of Indonesian Police.  The Provincial Police are known for their practice of taking advantage of occasions when there are peaceful demonstrations to create conflict and to terrorise, torture, kill, arrest and imprison Papuans who struggle peacefully for change.  Indonesia’s Armed Forces are constantly manipulating activities of the Struggle to create incidents of violence. Nevertheless Papuans continue to struggle peacefully in keeping with their decision at the 2000 2nd National Papuan Congress.

And so in the midst of all this, now it is Christmas. Where all parties in Papua hear of the message of ‘the coming of the King of Peace’.  A message that reminds humanity that Jesus Christ came to bring peace to this earth.  A message that starts to have real meaning only when entire communities of humans make space to allow for peace in their hearts.  To that end let’s all prepare our hearts with simplicity, faithfulness, honesty and love for one another. We are each one of us reminded by the message of Christmas.

It is dearly hoped that the message of Christmas will also touch hearts and bring awareness to those who are committing the many forms of violence against indigenous Papuans. That there might be a commitment to bring an end to all forms of oppression towards indigenous Papuans and to enter into dialogue between Jakarta and Papua with a neutral facilitator. To reach that end we need to be ready and willing to humble our hearts, to be faithful, honest and to act in love. Only in that way can we bring peace to the land of Papua.  We are all called to bring an end to the latent conflicts in Papua and to create peace, no matter who we are and wherever we may be.

Peace and joy at Christmas to all and throughout 2014!

Footnote:

  1. 1.       The Dutch previously tried to prepare Papua to become an independent nation whilst still under their control, with those preparations reaching a peak on 1 December 1961. However less than a month later on 19 December 1961 Indonesia by a political and military invasion marked by what’s known as Trikora (a three prong command which demanded the dismantlement of the “puppet” Papuan state created by the Dutch; the raising of the Indonesian Red and White flag over Papua; and preparation for a general mobilisation in Papua) succeeded in annexing Papua into the Indonesian Republic.

Selpius Bobii is the  General Chairperson of Front PEPERA & is a Papuan Freedom Political Detainee imprisoned in  Abepura State Prison, Jayapura, Papua, for another Christmas.

 

Bobii: INDONESIA CAUSES DELAY IN MSG FORUM DECISION ON WEST PAPUAN MEMBERSHIP

by Selpius Bobii in Abepura Prison, West Papua

21 December, 2013

Opinion / Analysis

In June 2013 the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Djoko Suyanto invited the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to send a delegation to visit Indonesia(1).  At the 19th Summit of the MSG on 21 June 2013 the MSG leadership determined that the question of the application for MSG membership by West Papua would be decided at the latest within 6 months of that meeting, following receipt of a report on a visit to Indonesia by the MSG member Foreign Ministers.

It is now 6 months to the day since that decision was made and yet the MSG Foreign Ministers have not yet visited Indonesia due to the lack of certainty concerning the invitation from Indonesia.  It is now clear that Indonesia’s supposed invitation was but a political snare to delay the MSG leadership’s decision regarding West Papua’s application for MSG membership.  Meanwhile Indonesia has been busy throughout this 6 months lobbying and making offers to the individual MSG member states in order to influence the outcome of that decision.

Indonesia is extremely sly and cunning in the way it plays its ‘Indonesian puppet’ politics. It was with the very same slyness that enabled Indonesia to succeed in annexing West Papua into the Republic of Indonesia in the 1960s and which has enabled Indonesia to maintain its hold on Papua ever since. Indonesia has undertaken all possible means to influence the international community such that West Papua to this date remains within the region of RI’s power, and Indonesia’s invitation to the MSG in June 2013 was but one of RI’s political strategies to that end.  It was an intentional ploy to cause Papua’s efforts to become a member of the MSG to fail.

From the time news was heard of Indonesia’s invitation to the MSG, the indigenous Papuan community already knew that Indonesia would not follow through in fulfilling its commitment to enable the MSG visit to Jakarta and Papua; and that has now become a reality.  Meanwhile almost all of the member nations of the MSG have fallen right into the snares set by Indonesia, allowing themselves to be manipulated so as to meet Indonesia’s purpose of defeating Papua’s application for MSG membership.

Indonesia has not only tricked the Melanesian nations individually in this way and has tricked them as a united body in the MSG regarding the supposed invitation, but has at the same time deceived the international community in regards to the same. So many have been hoping and waiting for the outcome of this matter, many of whom have made sacrifices to uphold truth, justice and dignity of the West Papuan people.

Indonesia’s deceit of the MSG Forum in this way just serves to heighten the perception in the international community and for some of the MSG members that Indonesia as a state is chronically lying to the world. There have been endless occasions when RI has wilfully lied in order to maintain its hold on West Papua within Indonesia and so many have been deceived by Indonesia’s cunning and sly ways in this regard. The tragic consequence being that as a result many parties have chosen to ignore the urgent humanitarian problems in West Papua, problems the ramifications of which are most horrifying indeed. Problems that Indonesia for 50 years has gone to great efforts to hide from the world.  And so determination of the legal and political status of Papua according to international law has also been delayed.

Discussions in relation to the human rights violations and the legal and political status of the West Papuan nation at the 19th Summit of the MSG in Noumea, gave a breath of fresh air and new hope to the indigenous community of West Papua. To a people who have been under the cruel colonial domination of Indonesia and its allies for over 50 years. It is dearly hoped that this new hope born of the 19th MSG Summit will not just elapse like the passing of time; and that it will not be brought down by the many offers made by the Indonesian government and its allies to the MSG member states.  Rather the Melanesian people of Papua hope and pray that the stated commitment of the 19th MSG forum will be upheld and defended, seeing West Papua given full membership at the MSG and consequently of the Pacific Islands Forum.  Such that in time the problem of Papua can be dealt with by the official mechanisms of the United Nations and the nation of Papua become independent and set free from all forms of tyranny, oppression and enslavement.

The commitment of the MSG Forum at this time is indeed being sorely tested. Will the MSG leadership have the courage to decide in the near future to make West Papua a full member of the MSG without having to wait for a report from a now much delayed visit of the MSG member Foreign Ministers to Indonesia? Or will the MSG leadership delay that decision and succumb to the influence of the cunning politics of Indonesia and its allies?

The indigenous community of Papua and those in the international community who care about the fate of West Papuans, are following the political wake from the last MSG Summit. All are awaiting a decision of certainty on West Papua’s application for MSG membership as a first real and effective step towards eventually bringing the problem of the legal and political status of West Papua to the mechanisms of the United Nations.  As the people of Papua have not struggled for more than 50 years  to take something that rightfully belongs to another, but rather to have the sovereign independence of the people of Papua recognised by the world.

Footnotes:

1. That invitation was conveyed by Suyanto when he met with the Fijian Prime Minister (at that time the Chairperson of the MSG) in Suva, Fiji. 

Selpius Bobii is the  General Chairperson of Front PEPERA.  This article is written from Abepura Prison, Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia

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Warinussy: More makar cases in Papua

Comment by Yan Christian Warinussy, senior lawyer in West Papua, recipient of the John Humphreys Freedom Award, 2005
December 13, 2013

The latest treason verdict against seven West Papuans is yet another example of the serious human rights situation in West Papuan, in particular with regard to the right to freedom of expression. The seven men were headed by Isak Kalaiban.

Based on the facts revealed during the course of the trial, it is clear that there was a plan between the accused to freely give expression to their views in a way that is based on the rule of law.
This occurred on 1 May 2013 after Isak and his colleagues brought the families of the accused together on the previous day at their home  in Aimas-Sorong. While they were meeting together,  a police patrol in Sorong began to opened fire at the group of people, as a result of which four people were killed or wounded.
At the trial, the men were charged with treason (makar)  by the court in Sorong before a panel of judges headed by Maria Magdalena Sitanggung.
None of the witnesses questioned at the trial said anything about what had taken place on the day before, 30 April.
For the legal team defending the accused, the question is who indeed is it that perpetrated treason in view of the fact that none of the witnesses who appeared in the trial knew anything about the men who were being charged.
This is yet another case in which the accused were charged under Articles 106, 108  and 110 to prevent people in Sorong from giving free expression to their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly  as provided for by Law 39/1999 on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Translated by Carmel Budiardjo